Category Archives: Taco Bell Lawsuit

Jeanne Moos, Taco Bell, And The Fine Art Of Media Prostitution

Just in case my last post about Taco Bell didn’t make you want to barf quite enough, CNN’s Jeanne Moos decided to ratchet up the Disgusting Factor by forgetting any kind of responsibility toward objective news reporting and instead leaping to her feet to service Taco Bell’s image, exactly like a lunatic hooker when her favorite John walks in.

Oh, yes, I know – that’s harsh isn’t it?  For the love of God, watch this video A Beef With Taco Bell, which features Moos in what I guess is an attempt to be funny.  The two main problems of course – it’s not funny, and she’s not a comedian anyway.

See, this is a story about allegations that Taco Bell serves hideously low quality meat products to millions of people.  It’s not a rumor or an urban legend, it’s a lawsuit filed by a former manager of a Taco Bell through an Alabama law firm. 

I can’t think of any reason for CNN to file this story in the “Off Beat” category – it’s actually very straightforward, and it’s about something that affects millions of consumers – unless CNN wants to help out its BFF Taco Bell with their new PR problem.

I also can’t think of any reason for this story to have a wacky tone.  You practically expect kazoo music as Moos starts audibly rolling her eyes within the first few seconds. 

“Looks like beef,” says Moos in voiceover, as we are treated to a close-up of either a Taco Bell product or veterinary surgery.  “But doesn’t this story ‘ring a bell?'”

Then they show us a clip of the old, crazy popular Where’s The Beef commercials for Wendy’s.  “They used to say it about hamburgers,” Moos continues.  “Now they’re saying it about Taco Bell.”

Except of course, the Wendy’s commercials involved surreal fictional characters commenting on the size of the hamburgers served at Wendy’s competitors, whereas we are currently talking about lawyers and scientists and former Taco Bell employees in the real, non-fictional world – and they’re saying it shouldn’t be called “beef” at all. 

But that’s her tone – Here We Go Again – as if this is just one of many times in a tiresome cycle of restaurants getting accused of serving food that maybe, legally, should not be classified as food.  Ho, ho, ho, it’s like the old hilarious Wendy’s commercials, remember those?

No.  It’s not like the old hilarious Wendy’s commercials.  Not even a little bit.  You know, since it’s not hilarious, it’s not old, it’s not Wendy’s, and it’s a lawsuit, not a freaking commercial. 

And just in case you don’t think that Jeanne Moos is here to give Taco Bell’s image a non-therapeutic massage, the next thing she does is slap down an actual bag of Taco Bell on her desk and then starts stuffing it into her face hole as she interviews the attorney handling the lawsuit over the phone.

It’s gross.  Plain and simple.  She’s not a particularly healthy-looking person anyway, so watching her eat Possible Dog Food, really close up?  Well, seriously, go ahead and look if you dare.  Might want to grab a bucket or a trash can or something, maybe a glass of water, because once you watch it, you won’t be able to unwatch it.  Probably want to clear off your morning.

But listen, I’m not just disgusted by watching this “news reporter” eat garbage at her desk – although it is most certainly disgusting.  No, I’m disgusted because it’s so obviously slanted.  Why is she assuming that this lawsuit has no merit?

That’s the message we’re supposed to get – why else would she sit there crunching down Taco Bell while she’s asking the lawyer “So what do you hope to accomplish with this lawsuit?”  The clear message is that she doesn’t believe or care what the person she’s interviewing says.

Then she tells us that the law firm took a Taco Bell product to a lab and found that the meat mixture was less than 35% meat, “instead of what they say is the 70% required by the FDA.”

Right after that, she says into the phone, “It tastes good!  Sorry, my mouth is full.”

Yes, we can see and hear you, Jeanne.  You look and sound like a some kind of mutant hog monster.

I know – I’m being really mean.  But again – aren’t you supposed to be a reporter?  So why do you have to rely on “what they say” about the FDA requirements?  Do you think you could stop shoveling crap into your face for a second and do a little research on your story? 

Perhaps then you could confirm that yes, it’s not just what “they say.”  It’s in fact what the USDA requires.  And that no, that bag of slop Taco Bell sent you as a prop for your PR story, it doesn’t even come close.

Why would you bother doing a news story about this at all, if you aren’t actually going to present the facts in anything approaching an objective manner?  The answer is of course that this isn’t a news story, it’s a commercial for Taco Bell.  We even get Taco Bell’s response blasted across the screen in big letters:  “We start with 100% USDA-approved beef.”

Yes, we know, Taco Bell.  Do you think we can’t see the word “start” in there?

If I take a bucket of 100% USDA-approved beef, and then take a crap in it and mix it around and make Meat/Craploaf out of it, can you see how both you and I started with 100% USDA-approved beef?  Isn’t it suspicious when your official statement does not even technically dispute the lawsuit you’re responding to?

If a responsible reporter were handling this story and not say, a metaphorical prostitute with an eating disorder, then that would have been the next question.  Say, Taco Bell, once you get started, what do you do next?  And what meaty percentage would you assign to say, I don’t know, the actual finished product that gets put in front of your customers when they order your goddamn food?

Since that’s the whole point of the lawsuit, and since that’s supposed to be the whole point of the story.  Let me go ahead and help you out – perhaps they simply use a really generous definition of “seasoning.”  Perhaps the Taco Meat Filling is 35% meat, and 65% “seasoning.”  And then let me guess – practically any batshit crazy substance or chemical qualifies as a “seasoning?” 

What do you want to bet that’s their defense, when you boil it all down?  Well, until an actual reporter gets on the case, I guess there’s no way to know, huh? 

What CNN and Jeanne Moos have chosen to give us instead is not even a cursory, thinly veiled attempt to present the facts in this story about a lawsuit against a giant corporation.  It’s spin, right there on the news, and it certainly seems designed to convince a swath of the population that the lawsuit against Taco Bell has no merit. And her two main sources?  Taco Bell and her own gaping mouth. 

Congratulations, CNN and Jeanne Moos – you just made me more nauseous than any kind Horsey Dorsey Organ Paste Product ever could have.  Go ahead and grab a twenty spot out of Taco Bell’s wallet on your way out of the motel room, for cab fare. 

You’ve definitely earned it.



Earlier:  Me And Taco Bell Are Here To Ruin Your Day

And:  Defenders of the Glomp


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Me And Taco Bell Are Here To Ruin Your Day

I once knew a guy who worked for a dog food company.  I’m not going to tell you any more about him or the company because I don’t want to get him in trouble.  But here’s what he told me – that his dog food company gets their meat from the same company Taco Bell does.

Friend of a friend.  Take it with a grain of salt, I can’t prove it or anything, just something a guy told me.

I said well there are two ways to look at that.  Either eating Taco Bell is really close to eating dog food, or those are some of the luckiest puppy dogs in the world.  They get Taco Bell.

But then take a look at this article, which my brother uncovered quite by accident during his investigation last week of a jewel heist at the Governor’s mansion.  (He got it wrapped up pretty fast so you probably didn’t hear about it.)

Or don’t take a look at it, because I’m going to summarize it now.  It’s about a class action lawsuit filed against Taco Bell in which we learn about a disturbing new meat classification:  Taco Meat Filling.

Apparently, there is a pretty big difference between ground beef and Taco Meat Filling.  Ground beef must have no more than 30% fat in it.  So that’s you going to the store, buying the cheapest hamburger possible.  It’s not really worth it because when you cook it up it shrinks so much, but okay, cheap hamburger isn’t very scary.

But Taco Meat Filling indicates only that the product is 40% meat.  I’m not trying to insult you, but that’s less than half.  What’s the rest of it?

Well, they’re called “extenders.”  Isn’t that a nice name?  They extend the meat.   Mmmmmm.

You know, things like”Isolated Oat Product,” wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agents, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate.  And although it’s not on the list, I’m going to guess bugs and turds.  I know, it doesn’t seem like responsible journalism does it?

Well, it’s not.  But what the fire truck is going on around here?  Was my grandpa right all along?  Has this whole world gone to Hell in a handbasket?  Why in the name of Oprah Winfrey are they allowed to sell dog food and floor sweepings at an American restaurant for human freaking beings?

I’m afraid it gets a little worse.  The lawsuit doesn’t seek damages I don’t think (you can read it right here if you’re into that sort of thing), but instead only to compel Taco Bell to stop labeling it’s Horsey Dorsey Organ Paste as ground beef .  According to the complaint, “Taco Meat Filling” would actually be a nice, charitable thing to let them call it, because their current product is only 36% meat.

That’s correct – it actually fails to meet the motherscratching minimum requirements to be called Taco Meat Filling.

It’s substandard Taco Meat Filling.  If they will agree to call Taco Meat Filling, they’ll still be sort of getting over. 

But don’t worry, Taco Bell released a statement saying, we take pride in our product, you guys are a bunch of slack-jawed hillbillies, shut up and eat your tacos you ungrateful morons, etc, etc, etc. (Not really, here’s their actual statement)

And okay, let me just calm down a second.  Now that I’ve coughed up that little hairball, I think maybe it’s time to admit to ourselves that we knew this all along.  I don’t think I’ve ever gone to Taco Bell with the impression that I was getting good quality food.

As a matter of fact, it’s usually eaten in the course of behaving exactly like a dog – you know, you run around all night sniffing everybody’s butt and peeing in the street, then you roll through Taco Bell for some dog food.  Take it to the park and eat it in the bushes, get some sleep.

I never had any illusions that Taco Bell was a reasonable thing to eat, but I think it’s pretty obvious I’ve been shielding my own psyche from things like this.  Why else would I ignore a dog food guy who says Taco Bell buys dog food ingredients?  Why else would I refuse to look at my chili cheese burrito when I’m cranking it down?

A few years back there was an E coli scare within the Taco Bell chain.  Five or six people got six from what I guess you would call Infected, Substandard Taco Meat Filling.  And then that night I saw on the news they were interviewing a giant man who was sitting in Taco Bell with a skit-worthy heap of colorful dog food products in front of him, talking with his mouth full.

“Well, you’ve got to live your life,” he pointed out.

I think if you were keeping score, that was the most puzzled facial expression I had on in 2006.  I mean, he was right about the odds – five or six out of five or six million Taco Bell  patrons isn’t too bad.  You take a risk every time you wake up, cross the street, or stick your face in the fan.

But it’s a curious American definition of “living your life” isn’t it?  Eating dog food even though so many people have heard it might be diseased that a reporter is standing there asking you why you’re doing it?

Well, screw it.  Eat whatever you want – what do I care?  I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Unsolicited Food Morality Lecture.  Tune in tomorrow, when I’ll go into what kind of clothes you should wear and the manner in which I think you should blow your own nose – because I’m a blogger and it’s some of my business.


Later:  Jeanne Moos, Taco Bell And The Fine Art of Media Prostitution

Earlier:  Defenders of the Glomp


And:  It’s Okay To Eat The Chicken Nugget Paste

And:  Is My Breakfast Bothering You?


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